Islington pictures

The Islington Archaeology & History Society is here to investigate, learn and celebrate the heritage that is left to us. We host lectures and other events, organise walks and produce a quarterly journal. The society, its events, shop and journal are run entirely by volunteers.

On this page: Events Historical and literary walks Journal Our 18th century Islington font

On other pages: Research resources Store: buy books, old maps and more About us and contact Membership

          Archaeology & History Society is on Facebook Keep up to date and join the conversations at our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/islingtonhistory, which has about 250 members



We’re holding talks on making history programmes for TV, how Islington remembers the First World War, a coalition government 75 years ago and sporting heritage. Plus we hold regular George Orwell walks.

We host 10 lectures a year, usually at Islington Town Hall on Upper Street, N1, as well as book launches and joint events. Lectures are free to members; we ask non-members for a £1 donation.

The society runs a number of history walksclick here for information on walks.

We take a break from meetings in the summer but you can come and say hello to us at local fairs and festivals. Details of these will be on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/islingtonhistory. Our meetings resume in September.

Wednesday 21 September, 7.30pm, Islington Town Hall

Islington and the International Brigade

Richard Baxell, historian, author of books on the Spanish Civil War and chair of the International Brigade Memorial Trust

International Brigades were military units, made up of volunteers from different countries who travelled to Spain to fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939. Richard Baxell will discuss its links to Islington.

In 1936, a group of military generals in Spain launched a rising to overthrow the republican government, elected five months previously. Although initially successful in many areas, it met strong opposition; the rebels then gained assistance from fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

The Spanish governement pleaded for help but Britain, France, Germany Italy, Portugal and the USSR made an agreement not become involved – although the generals continued to receive assistance from Germany and Italy.

Anti-fascists from around the world then flocked to Spain to aid the government, seeing this as the last chance to halt to advance of fascism. These International Brigades of foreign volunteers fought and died alongside the Spanish republicans.

Wednesday 19 October, 7.30pm, Islington Town Hall

Six hundred years of the Old Red Lion

Damien Devine, executive director, Old Red Lion Theatre

The Old Red Lion in St John Street near the Angel is thought to be one of the oldest pubs in London. The history of the pub, which has be rebuilt several times, has been traced back to 1415.

Its patrons include artist William Hogarth, who included the Red Lion in one of his paintings, and Scottish poet and playwright James Thomson, who wrote the lyrics to Rule Britannia. John Paine, author of The Rights of  Man, was also a customer. The pub was also linked to radical left-wing politics over a long period, as well as to the fair trade movement.

The pub’s theatrical history dates back to the late 19th century, when Dickerson and North became landlords. Charles and Amelia Dickerson (née North) had a been involved in a theatre in the East End – and were prosecuted for staging a play without a licence. The current theatre, opened nearly 40 years ago, has hosted over 1,000 productions and live performances and has transferred work off-Broadway and to the West End.

Damien Devine will take us on a journey of the Red Lion’s history from its early days, through Tuder and Stuart periods, Georgian and Victorian times to today.

Events contacts

If you are interested in giving a talk to the society, please contact chairman Andrew Gardner on Andy [at] islingtonhistory.org.uk

If you are running an event, such as a local history fair or community festival, and think we would be interested in running a stall, please contact Catherine Brighty on 020 7833 1541, catherine.brighteyes [at] hotmail.co.uk, 8 Wynyatt Street, EC1V 7HU

Events we are attending and organising are given on our Facebook group page at www.facebook.com/groups/islingtonhistory

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Historical and literary walks

A great way to see Islington’s history is through one of our walks. These look at places including Canonbury, Angel, Barnsbury and its squares and the Regent’s canal.

Our Islington Back and Forth stroll looks at distant and recent local history from Angel to the New River and Canonbury, noting literary figures along the way including Tom Paine, John and Charles Wesley, Charles Dickens, George Orwell, Joe Orton and Douglas Adams.

Andrew Gardner, the society chairman, also leads guided tours of the grade I listed Union Chapel, which includes visiting areas rarely open to the public.

For more information, to join or organise a walk for a group of friends of family, contact walks [at] islingtonhistory.org.uk


George Orwell walks

A favourite is the George Orwell walk. Orwell was at his most prolific during his time in Islington. While he was living at 27b Canonbury Square, Animal Farm was published and he worked on drafts of Nineteen Eighty-Four, published numerous essays and articles, and broadcast extensively.

Proceeds from these walks are divided between the Islington Archaeology & History Society and the Margins Project at the Union Chapel,which works with homeless, isolated and marginalised people in Islington, helping them to break the cycle of poverty and crisis, and regain control of their lives.

For more information on walks and booking, email Andy on walks [at] islingtonhistory.org.uk.


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Journal of the Islington
        Archaeology & History Society journal cover
Journal of the Islington Archaeology & History Society

The society produces a quarterly journal, which is sent to members. Back copies can be downloaded from www.clcomms.com/iahs.

We welcome articles on local history, memories and research, and information on books and events. If you would like to write for the journal or have some memories or pictures you would like to share with readers, or have questions you think readers could ask, contact the journal editor Christy Lawrance at christy [at] islingtonhistory.org.uk

Books for review should be sent to Christy Lawrance c/o 6 Northview, Tufnell Park Road, N7 0QB



Typography: an 18th century banner font

Our heading in the banner image uses a Caslon font.

William Caslon ran England’s leading typefoundry in the 18th and early 19th century. He was the first major letter founder in London and remains the most notable letter founder this country has produced

His premises in Chiswell Street, in Clerkenwell in the south of Islington, were established in 1734 and continued to trade until 1936. While at Chiswell Street, Caslon staged monthly organ concerts and served beer he brewed himself.

The Caslon variant in our banner images was designed by Carol Twombly and is based on the Caslon’s specimen pages printed between 1734 and 1770.

The story of William Caslon and his typefoundry can be read on Spitalfields Life.



          Archaeology & History Society is on Facebook Keep up to date with society and Islington news and events by joining our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/islingtonhistory


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